Leicestershire rye bread

This is a delicious loaf of rye bread packed full of subtle spices. Simple to make, it compliments cheese so very very well!

Leicestershire Rye Bread

Made by Rosie Clark, this was one of three Leicestershire Loaves that won her the Leicestershire Cook-Off
Prep Time 3 hrs
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Breakfast, lunch, Snack


  • 300 g Light rye flour If you cannot get light rye, use dark
  • 250 g Warm water
  • 3 g Dry yeast
  • 6 g Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Roasted fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Crushed and dry roasted cardamom seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Dry roasted cumin seeds
  • 1 handful Mixed seeds for decoration


  • Measure the flour into a bowl and make a little well in it.
  • Sprinkle the yeast into the well and pour in 100 g of the warm water. Wait for 15 minutes and the yeast will turn into a beige sludge on top.
  • Add all of the rest of the ingredients and mix them well with a spoon. It will be a bit tough to mix but should feel very soft when you press it with your fingers. It should not feel chalky or dry. If it does, add a tiny bit more water.
  • Grease a 500 g bread tin thoroughly with butter or lard (use a hard fat).
  • Wet your hands thoroughly and pick up the dough. Mould it into a little brick and gently roll it in some mixed seeds that you have put on a plate. Slide it gently into the tin. Don't squash it into the corners or even smooth it down. It will rise just fine.
  • Cover it with a shower hat (seriously – it gives the dough room to rise and it will not stick to anything) and leave it for 2 hours until it has come up to the top of the tin and there are little holes in it.
  • Preheat the oven to 200 C and put the dough in. Bake it for 45 minutes. It should sound hollow when you tap the bottom of it. Remove it from the tin and let it cool completely on a wire rack. This bread is actually even better the next day.

12 thoughts on “Leicestershire rye bread”

  1. I tried the basic rye bread recipe and it came it pretty good for a first attempt. The only problem was maybe it was a bit burned on the outside and undercooked in the inside – but not too bad. Is it ok to lower the baking temperature?

    Also, can you do a slow fermentation with the recipe, keeping in the fridge for a few days and then proofing before baking time.

    1. Hello! Firstly have you checked your oven temperature? Do have a look with a good oven thermometer. One thing to try is to put it up higher (like to 230 degrees) for the first 10 minutes and then reduce it to 200 for 30 more minutes. Check it and if it is getting too brown, cover it with foil. If you have a gas oven, bake it as high as possible in the oven (heat source for gas is at the bottom) and if you have a fan oven, adjust the temperature according to the manufacturers’s instructions. You can do slow fermentation in the fridge but 12 hours is enough! Any more than that and your bread will be over flowing the tin!

  2. The first one was cooked at 200c. I will check the oven temp next go round. Actually it came out almost perfect, but the tin was a bit bigger than the amount of dough and the undercooked portion was the on the side where it sort of sloped down. It seemed to get better after an hour or two after cooling. Also the rise time took at least 6 hours.

    This time I used a 7g packet of instant yeast and it rose in under an hour. I pressed it down and it will be in the fridge for 18 hours. If it’s too high I guess I’ll scoop some off the top before the final proofing.

    The first one tasted a lot better than white or whole wheat made the same way. But it also seemed to get stale pretty fast, in about a day, still edible but nowhere near as good as fresh.

    Do you know of a very simple way to make a fake sourdough like this? Maybe I can just do a long ferment in the fridge starting with yeast?

  3. Hi Arjuna

    First if you use a 7 g packet of yeast of course it will rise quickly – but you are eating far too much yeast than you need or is good for you. Fat better to use the amount prescribed and let it rise for a long time (or in the fridge over nigh). You never need to squash rye down – in fact it has a hard time recovering from that! It’s a very weak gluten which is why it does not need a rise-shape-rise – just mix and shape and let rise. Finally, I think it says (and I really mean it!) that rye is always better the next day – this is because it is very damp. If it went stale quickly, your mixture was far too dry. As re q cheat sourdough – simply use a small amount of yeast and leave it to rise in the fridge!

  4. Thank you for all the information!

    The second one came out very similar to the first. I doubled up on the amounts. The first one maybe I used a little too much butter to grease the pan and this caused extra crispy outside, which wasn’t too bad in hindsight.

    Next go round I will do it according to the recipe. And you’re right it is better the next day after it dries out a bit.

    Why do you think yeast is unhealthy? After it is cooked there shouldn’t be any live yeast left, and the rest is just vtamins – or is mutritional yeast healthier than baking yeast for some reason.

    How about some dessert recipes. Can you use rye flour for baking desserts as a substitute for wheat flour?

  5. Hi Arjuna

    yeast is a very very wiley beast and it can insulate itself in the sugars in the flour. Particular culprit is highly refined flour and any bread made with sugar (as most commercial bread is). Then it survives the baking process and the stomach acids break open the shell in which it has hidden and it comes out live into your tummy!

    Using rye flour as a substitute in desserts or cakes is something I have never tried! Worth a bit of research! Certainly you can make pancakes which are really yummy.

  6. Going to try this today,, as I am gluten intolerance, , this recipe, , easy, , will comment when done!!

    1. ooo! marvellous! make sure the dough is really really wet – dry dough (if you push your finger through the dough it should go in easily and not feel gritty) makes heavy bread!

  7. I’m a rookie… but the bread came out very nice! I put the dough in proofing baskets because I wanted to heat up my glass bake dishes – then I dumped the loaves onto parchment paper and then dropped them into the fired glass bread pans…

    Today I tried the “wet your hands” trick to shape the dough. I was astonished that my hands didn’t stick to the dough! This is such fun! Thanks for this simple idiot proof recipe. Now people will think I’m a baking genius.

  8. It’s me again. That bread from the proofing baskets came out flat and “undercooked” so I gave it to the chickens. (They didn’t complain.)

    Yesterday I let the bread rise in the glass pans and didn’t mess with it. I think the movement from proofing basket to glass dish took out a lot of the air. Anyway, the bread is delicious and I will be making more…

    1. Hi there,

      I cannot imagine the logistics of transporting bread from a rising basket to a glass baking dish! Usually when you proof in a basket, you simply roll the risen dough gently onto a baking tray lined wiht non stick baking parchment. With wheat bread, it will keep it’s shape. With rye bread it will flatten. Your other option is simply to proof it in the tin/dish and bake it right in there. I am glad it worked out!

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